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“I know a man, born in 1806, who comes from Ampton, Suffolk, England. He always had a dream, which was becoming a captain and living with the great sea. At the age of 12, he entered the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth and in the following year he entered the Royal Navy. When he was 14, he embarked as an apprendice aboard a ship sailing to South America. It was the middle of the year 1820 and they didn't return until 1822. He was promoted to midshipman while on the vessel.” The Captain was narrating the story when I cut in.
“So he is lucky, because he is smart and able. He has made an achievement in such an early age. But what does this have to do with me? Is he blind also?” I was curious.
“The approach to success is full of thorns. You’ll never know what difficulty is waiting for you in front. Anyway you have to hope, and keep going.” He continued, “When he finished his second voyage, he was promoted to lieutenant. In 1828, he embarked on the Beagle. Halfway through the voyage, he was made temporary Captain of the Beagle.” He stopped for a while, as if he was recalling something, or giving me some time to digest the story.
“I think his way to success was smooth. It seems he didn’t suffer any adversity before he becomes a captain, yes?” I asked the captain.
“That’s just a brief introduction to his achievements; I haven’t started to tell you his difficulties.”
“Oh? I am curious what pains he suffered.”
“What are the most important characteristics do you think a captain should possess?” He suddenly threw at me such a strange question.
I thought about it for a moment, and then I gave him my answer. “Hmm, he must love the sea, and he must have perfect navigational skills.”
“Those are certainly prerequisites, not the most important. The most important thing for a captain is to make a decision decisively and promise the safety.”
“I think so. I am interested in his story. Let’s go on, captain.”
"This man I am telling you about, his father has a good friend who once was a
“Jeez! What happened?” I was high-strung.
“A poisonous snake, which was hanging from a branch, bit one of C’s arms.” He said, “Guess what, C made an incision to his arm where the snake had bit him. The boy was so scared and started to cry.”
I was frightened as well, and I kept shivering.
“C told the boy 'One of the main determinants of success in life is our attitude towards adversity. When you face a difficulty, making a fast and apt decision is the way. Access the situation and do what needs to be done.' Then the boy stopped crying and helped him bind up his arm."
I began to comprehend something.
“Later when the boy became the temporary Captain of the Beagle, during the survey, some of his men were camping onshore when a group of Fuegian natives made off with their boat. Alerted to the problem, the crew remaining onboard the ship gave chase and followed the thieves to shore where, after a scuffle, the ship's crew captured some of the culprits' families and brought them on board as hostages. The man then made a decision.”
“What decision?” I asked him in a hurry.
“He decided to civilize the savages, teaching those Fuegian English and Christianity. Finally he civilized the savages and trained them into missionaries.”
“Wow! He was so shrewd. How did he think of that method?”
“Kept calm and hopeful, analyzed the situation and made a decision.”
Now I sort of understood what the captain wanted to tell me. I knew I had to make my own decision. To keep hope or quit and sabotage myself, I had to think it over.
“Kid, I bet you might have heard a proverb, ‘Where there is life, there is hope.’ I hope you make a right life choice.”
“Thank you, dear Captain. I will consider it.” I smiled.
“All right, I’ll go back to my post, now you need rest,” he said and was about to leave, “and time to digest what I have told you.”
“Wait a minute, Captain. I want to meet that clever boy. Can you introduce him to me?”
“You have already talked to him, just now!” He patted my shoulder, “That boy is me! I am sure you can make it, girl!”
Oh, I didn’t know the captain was so great and so young. since the first time I met him, I thought he was a middle-aged man. Now I admired him deeper than before, he had not only a nice beard, but also a brilliant brain and abundant experiences. What’s more, he was so kind and supportive!
After the captain left my room, I kept repeating that proverb silently in my heart “where there is life, there is hope” and fell into a deep meditation until brother came to feed me in the evening.
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